It’s not quite the real thing, but the NIT Final Four promises to be entertaining. The games begin tonight at 6 CST on ESPN2.
(3) Baylor vs. (1) San Diego State
Baylor was one of the most disappointing teams in College Basketball this season, but made an impressive run to the Big 12 tournament final and has kept on rolling.
The Bears have terrific guard play, led by Curtis Jerrells and LaceDarius Dunn. Jerrells was a first team all-Big 12 performer this season and is excellent off the dribble. Dunn has played really well during Baylor’s run and is good shooter.
San Diego St. was a surprising NCAA tournament snub, and is arguably the most talented team in the NIT Final Four.
The Aztecs are led by Kyle Spain and Lorenzo Wade, but have a deep supporting cast including Ryan Amoroso, Richie Williams, and Billy White.
San Diego St. is bigger than Baylor but is mainly a perimeter team. The Aztecs should have an edge on the boards, which could be the difference in a close game.
I like San Diego State to win in a great game.
(2) Notre Dame vs. (2) Penn State
Luke Harangody and Kyle McAlarney are used to playing, and losing, in Madison Square Garden. But the Irish should win tonight against Talor Battle and a scrappy Penn State team.
ND beat Kentucky to advance to the NIT Final Four, and has played fairly well down the stretch this season. Harangody will go against Penn State’s Jamelle Cornley in what should be a fun matchup to watch.
Staten Island’s Finest (McAlarney) usually plays well in the Garden and should play well tonight.
Battle is crafty and very quick, but Notre Dame is much more balanced than Penn State. Expect Tory Jackson to shadow battle tonight.
If Cornley can get Harangody in foul trouble, Penn State has a chance. Otherwise, I look for ND to win easily.
So, how are your NIT brackets looking? Stay tuned.